DOH approves UP’s Philippine Genome Center as 18th COVID-19 lab

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 24 2020 05:56 PM | Updated as of Apr 24 2020 06:32 PM

MANILA — The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday announced approving the application of the Philippine Genome Center (PGC) as a COVID-19 testing lab.

The PGC, supervised by the University of the Philippines, is the 18th laboratory in the country accredited to undertake coronavirus tests..

“Mayroon na po tayong 18 na COVID labs na lisensiyado. Kaka-approve lang po natin sa Philippine Genome Center,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said during a televised briefing.

(We now have 18 COVID labs that are licensed. We have just approved the Philippine Genome Center.)

The 17 other laboratories are:

  • Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center in Baguio City
  • Bicol Regional Diagnostic and Reference Laboratory in Legazpi City
  • Chinese General Hospital in Manila
  • Detoxicare Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory in Mandaluyong City
  • Lung Center of the Philippines in Quezon City
  • Makati Medical Center in Makati City
  • Medical City in Pasig City
  • Philippine Red Cross
  • Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in Muntinlupa City
  • San Lazaro Hospital in Manila
  • Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City
  • St. Luke's Medical Center in Quezon City
  • St. Luke's Medical Center in Taguig City
  • University of the Philippines National Institutes of Health in Manila
  • V. Luna Hospital in Quezon City
  • Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City
  • Western Visayas Medical Center in Iloilo City

Vergeire said the DOH continues to assess other labs applying for licensing.

“Patuloy din ang proficiency testing sa mga Stage 4 na laboratoryo upang masigurado natin na accurate ang mga procedure nila,” she said.

(Their proficiency testing of Stage 4 laboratories are also ongoing to ensure the accuracy of their procedures.)

Last week, Vergeire said there are 47 other laboratories undergoing the 5-stage certification process for COVID-19 laboratories.

As of Thursday, the Philippines conducted tests on 68,765 individuals, of which 8,645 or 12.6 percent tested positive and 60,004 or 87.3 percent tested negative. Vergeire said the number of positive tests are higher than the confirmed cases because of validation.

The DOH aims to reach 8,000 tests daily by the end of April.

Vergeire said they are about to reach this goal, although there is still a need to increase testing beyond that.

She said testing capacity is important in identifying those with COVID-19 and isolating them from the rest of the population.

She said having facilities for quarantine is just as important.

The Philippine government on Friday announced that it was extending the enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila and other areas in the country. Other provinces were also placed under general community quarantine, which allows some establishments and businesses to be open.